Most College of Law graduates apply for admission to the bar
in Illinois, although many later seek admission in other jurisdictions. Each
state administers the bar examination twice each year: once in February and
once in July. The supreme court of each state determines the material that will
be tested on its bar exam. Generally, an applicant must pass two separate types
of exams: (1) an academic qualification exam and (2) a professional
responsibility exam (e.g., “The Multistate Professional Responsibility
The Illinois Bar Exam
The Illinois Bar Exam is a two-day academic qualification
exam consisting of three components: an essay component (nine questions), a
multiple-choice component (200 questions), and a performance component
involving a LARC-like, closed-universe problem (in which the applicant is
instructed to draft a memo, a brief or other kind of analytical document).
Three of the essay questions are created by Illinois bar examiners. The
remaining essay questions and other exam components are created by the National
Conference of Bar Examiners, the organization that designs questions used in
various bar exams across the country.
Illinois does not require
students to have taken particular courses to sit for the Illinois Bar
Exam. Illinois Supreme Court Rule
704(d), however, lists 24 subjects that may be tested, which include all DePaul
first-year subjects plus several core electives:
- agency and partnership
- business organizations (including corporations and limited liability companies)
- commercial paper
- conflict of laws
- criminal law and procedure
- family law
- equity jurisprudence
- federal and state constitutional law
- federal jurisdiction and procedure
- federal taxation
- Illinois procedure
- personal property (including sales and bailments)
- real property
- secured transactions
- trusts and future interests
- wills and decedents’ estates
Illinois bar applications are available for electronic
filing on the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar website, www.ilbaradmissions.org. Go to >
Information and Applications > Bar Exam Application.
Board of Admissions to the Bar encourages law students to register with the bar
examiners by March 1 of the first year of law school if they intend to take the
Illinois Bar Exam. First-year registration is not mandatory, but is strongly
recommended if the student has a history of character and fitness issues such
as contact with the criminal justice system. Students who register later will pay higher fees
Bar Exams in Other States
Each state administers its own bar exam. Generally, the exam
consists of an essay component, a multiple-choice component, and a performance
component involving a LARC-like, closed-universe problem. The proportion of
questions designed by each state’s own bar examiners versus questions designed
by the National Conference of Bar Examiners can vary widely from state to
state, as well as whether a state administers a particular component at all.
Thus, a student should check the state’s bar admissions website to learn
specifically what subjects are tested and which components are used. The
student should also determine if the state has a policy of allowing first-year
students to register in advance.
For information about applying to take the bar exam in
another state or jurisdiction, go to the National Conference of Bar Examiners website, www.ncbex.org. The home page, right-hand column, contains a
directory of contact information for the bar admissions office of each
states require students to have taken specific courses to sit for their bar
exams. Students interested in
practicing in another state should visit that state’s board of admissions website
to learn of any specific bar admission requirements.
graduating senior who intends to take the bar in a state other than Illinois
must notify the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at least two months prior to
graduation. The student must
provide the Assistant Dean with a Dean’s Certificate form and a cover letter
stating the student’s name, student ID number, mailing address, e-mail address
and telephone number and the deadline for submission of the form to the
jurisdiction in which the student will be sitting for the bar. If the state to
which the student applies requires an official transcript to verify the JD, the
student must order the transcript from the University Office of Student
The College of Law cannot order official transcripts because release of the
transcripts requires the student’s written consent.
The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination
(MPRE) is a separate exam from the
academic qualification exam described in the preceding section. The MPRE is a
two-hour exam that tests knowledge of ethical standards of the legal
profession. It is administered three times a year in March, August and
November. To be licensed in most states, an applicant must take and pass both
the MPRE and the state’s bar examination.
and qualification for the MPRE:
To register for the MPRE, go to the National Conference of Bar Examiners website:
ncbex.org > Multistate Tests > MPRE. For a DePaul College of Law
student’s MPRE score to be accepted in Illinois, the student must complete at least 58 credit hours before sitting
for the MPRE. Note: If a student takes the MPRE before earning 58
credits (2/3 of the 86 credits required to graduate), he or she will have to
take the exam again.
An applicant need not take the MPRE before taking the bar
exam, but most DePaul students take the MPRE in their final year of law school
before they graduate. Note that the Illinois Board of Admissions and other
states must receive satisfactory proof that an applicant has achieved a passing
MPRE score before he or she can be recommended for admission to the bar.
Warning: Unfortunately, every year, some College
of Law GRADUATES fail the bar. Do not let this happen to you.
A principal reason FOR FAILURE IS UNDERESTIMATING THE DIFFICULTY OF THE EXAM
AND NOT TREATING BAR STUDY AS A FULL-TIME JOB.
of Law Bar Examination Resources
are strongly encouraged to attend the College of Law’s Bar Skills Workshops
conducted in the last semester of their senior year. The workshops will introduce the different components of the
bar exam, exam-taking techniques, effective study and scheduling habits, and
stress management techniques students need to know before beginning the
intensive, ten-week review period preceding the exam. Seniors are strongly encouraged to take a commercial
bar review course immediately following graduation.
more information about the bar exam, go to the College of Law’s Law Student
Resource Guide at http://law.depaul.edu/students/pdf/quick_resource_guide_pdf,
and the College of Law’s brochure, “The Bar Exam: Begin Preparing Now,” at http://law.depaul.edu/pdf/bar_prep.pdf.
and Fitness Disclosures
The Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar requires that
the Dean of the law school certify that each student sitting for the bar has
earned the JD degree. As part of that certification, the Dean must answer the
- Do your records or other information show
anything adverse concerning the applicant’s honesty, integrity, or general
- Was the applicant
ever involved in a disciplinary inquiry or proceeding while in attendance? If
- Are you aware of any
matter or matters reflecting adversely upon the applicant’s reputation and
- Please state any
facts, not covered by the foregoing questions, unfavorable to the applicant,
which you think the committee should know in connection with its duty to
determine whether the applicant is worthy of the highest trust and confidence.
Most other states require similar certificates to be
completed by the Dean before students may take the bar exam.
Students are advised that
they have a duty to supplement their law school files if any adverse criminal,
civil, administrative or financial events occurred before or during law school.
If any discrepancy exists between information disclosed on the original law
school application and the bar application, the student may be asked to meet
with bar admission staff or the Board of Law Admissions. Adverse information not disclosed may
result in the denial of a license to practice law. Students who do not fully
disclose adverse information when they apply to DePaul University College of
Law must do so at the earliest opportunity. If not, they may be cited for a violation of the College of
Law Honor Code. Penalties, including letters of reprimand, suspension or
expulsion, may be imposed for failure to make full or complete disclosure.